In her bid for Horse of the Year honors,
4-year-old filly Havre de Grace emphatically solidified her argument Saturday,
romping to an 8 ¼-length score in the 72nd running of the Grade
1, $350,000 Beldame Invitational at Belmont Park.
Ridden by Ramon Dominguez, the daughter of the late sire Saint Liam
went off at odds of 2-5 in the field of five and ran the 1 1/8-mile race in
1:49.39 over a track labeled muddy. She paid $2.90 for a $2 win bet.
Grade 1 TVG Alabama winner Royal Delta, facing older runners for the
first time, finished second, followed by Satans Quick Chick.
While the Beldame was a “Win and You’re In” race for
the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic, trainer Larry Jones said Havre de Grace
likely will run against males in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 5
at Churchill Downs.
“She has the speed to match up with them,” said Jones, who
trains Havre de Grace for Fox Hill Farm. “I’m sure we will see Uncle Mo
in there. He was very impressive 30 minutes ago [winning the Grade 2 Kelso],
and it should make it very interesting.”
The Beldame was a tour de force for Havre de Grace.
When the gate opened, 2010 Beldame winner Life At Ten, outfitted with
blinkers for the first time, bounded to a four-length lead. On the backstretch,
Royal Delta rushed up to close the gap during an opening quarter-mile in 23.53
seconds. Havre de Grace, racing on a muddy track for the first time, kept
within striking distance in the three path.
At the five-sixteenths pole, Havre de Grace moved around Royal Delta
and challenged Life At Ten. After a brief tussle, Havre de Grace rolled by and
effortlessly widened her lead. She crossed the finish line under a hand ride.
Royal Delta rallied to finish second, 5 ¾ lengths in front of
Satans Quick Chick. Banker’s Buy and Life At Ten completed the order of
“It was very easy,” said Dominguez, who rode four winners
on the “Super Saturday” card, . “She was in control the whole
time and turning for home I made sure I had her running. I got after her some,
and when I took a peek back inside three-sixteenths, she was in front by many,
and she did it easy.”
Havre de Grace now has won eight of 14 lifetime starts and five of
seven this year. The $210,000 she earned for winning the Beldame pushed her
career earnings to $2,196,175.
“I seriously think this is the closest I’ve ever witnessed
to the perfect race horse,” Jones said. “I thought Secretariat was
that when he retired. If she has a flaw anywhere, anyhow, I haven’t found